Are you considering buying an RV but have no idea where to start? This RV Newbie Buyers Guide is designed to help walk someone who have never owned or maybe never even been in an RV into the process of selecting, buying and operating an RV for the first time.
When we first thought about buying an RV we soon discovered a world that we never knew existed. It had its own language and protocols and it took a little while to orient ourselves and figure out what would work for us. Then we needed to understand how the pricing worked and then once we were in the RV, how all the systems worked. Everything was different than we expected so hopefully this RV Newbie Buyers Guide will help walk you through the process.
Understanding Classes | Layout Considerations | Purchasing an RV | Operating an RV for the First Time
RV’s are divided into different classes and it’s important to have an understanding of the classes so you can know which one fits what you’re looking for.
Class A RV’s are the ones that look like buses. They feature a flat front with the largest windshield. They are the largest RV’s and often the most luxurious. They are the most expensive to purchase and operate but they will have the most automation and amenities.
Class A’s generally do not have air bags and very little motor in front of them like a class c. However, this also offers a better view out the front.
These units are mostly diesels or “diesel pushers” (DP’s) and get about 8-10 MPG.
Class A’s generally have the most amount of storage space, be that in the unit and outside, below the living space in what is known as the “basement”.
Class B Rv’s are the the smallest, most compact. They are vans converted to have camper amenities. Due to their size and complexity, they can be be expensive but offer the most portability and can fit in places that other classes cannot.
Class C RV’s typically feature an over the cab design and can be up to 32-33′ long. They feature most of the amenities of class A but in a smaller space.
Expect about 8-9 MPG from this drive train. Class c’s also have air bags for the front passengers and other passengers can be seated at the dinette or on the sofa.
Class c’s can also tow vehicles (known as “toad’s”).
A Super C is a Class C RV built on a larger truck frame so that the body of the RV can be larger than a typical class C. It basically combines the added amenities and luxuries found in a class A in a Class C form factor.
Travel Trailers are tow behind vehicles. They are connected to the the rear hitch and can be up to 40′ in length.
Travel trailers can be anything from a pop-up which has a hard bottom and a tent like structure that “pop’s up” out of it. These are great for families on a budget and looking for something better than a tent. The next model up from a pop-up is a hard sided travel travel.
A fifth wheel trailer is also towed behind a truck but the hitch is located in the bed of the truck. These are the largest towable RV’s and are comparable to Class A RV’s.
Every class has its pluses and minuses. The RV is where you will stay and so you’ll need a vehicle to get around once you reach your destination with the exception of a class B RV. Class B RV’s are small enough that you can take them into town and easily find parking. You can sometimes do that with a smaller class c but don’t count on it.
A class A & C will need to tow a vehicle that can be driven at the destination. These are affectionately call “toads” by the RV community.
RV Considerations for larger travelers
If you are heavy, overweight, perhaps obese and are looking to buy an RV, there are a number of things that you should look for in an RV. To help with that, I’ve put together separate discussion on RV considerations for larger travelers. In that discussion I’ve also put together a list of RV models that would work well for larger travelers.